Colombia Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos announced his resignation
Monday. He said he will run for the 2010 Presidency if President Alvaro
Uribe does not.
Santos said he had discussed his resignation with Uribe and had his blessing.
The Defense Minster said that if Uribe runs for President, he will support him. He added that if Uribe decides not to run, he himself will run as a candidate.
According to El Espectador,
Santos’ resignation has sparked speculation that Uribe will not run for
the Presidency in 2010. The speculation suggests that Santos’ resignation could be taken as a indication that Uribe has decided not to run and has designated Santos to run instead.
The final vote on Uribe’s re-election referendum will go before Congress Tuesday.
Santos was facing an ever approaching May 29 deadline to resign if he wanted to be eligible to run as a candidate for President.
The resignation of Santos has been expected for months, as the Defense Minister never hid his aspirations to run for President in the upcoming elections.
Santos indicated at the press conference that if Uribe were to be re-elected, he would be interested in returning to the position of Defense Minister.
Santos is considered current President Uribe’s closest ally within the cabinet and has enjoyed great military success in the State’s war against leftist insurgency groups.
The conservative Santos is also a very controversial figure, due to the allegedly increasing amount of human rights violations by the country’s security forces under his command.
Santos’ resignation will be effective as of Saturday 23rd May.